Solar cities in India: Sanchi will not be a Modhera-like solar city

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has promised to make the heritage town Sanchi a fully solar-powered city by May 2023. But when the Ground Report team reached Sanchi in February, no work could be seen in the city except the campaign posters of Solar City. However, officials of the Electricity Department say that we will complete the target on time.

What’s the plan?

Sanchi has to supply electricity to the entire city by May 2023 through solar energy. This city with a population of 10,000 needs 2 MW of electricity every day. Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam is preparing to set up an 8 MW solar plant here, which will be directly connected to the Sanchi power grid.

Sanchi city, which is known for the Buddhist Stupa, will have solar street lights, garden lights, stud lights, high mast lights, solar drinking water kiosks, battery-operated rickshaws, public transport, and charging stations fully operated on renewable energy.

solar city sanchi posters
solar panels in sanchi

Wind turbines and Piezo Electric Generators are also to be installed in Sanchi, which will generate electricity by walking on the road.

But the administration has only 2 months left to do all this, and the pace of work is extremely slow.

Modhera Vs Sanchi two different approach

Modhera of Gujarat is the country’s first solar city, here 24-hour power supply is from solar energy, Modhera can be called a solar city because rooftop solar systems have been installed in 1300 buildings here. While people in Sanchi are not showing interest in getting the solar system installed. Therefore, here an 8 MW integrated solar plant will supply electricity to the entire city.

SanchiModhera
Population Around 10,000Around 8,000
3 Rooftop Solar Panels Installed1300 Rooftop Solar Plant Installed
Based on Solar Park ModelBased on Ground Mounted Solar power plants and Rooftop solar systems all integrated with Battery Energy storage systems (BESS).
No Solar panels installed in government and commercial buildings yet.Rooftop Solar systems installed in Government and residential buildings.
People will pay for electricityPeople will earn money from selling electricity.

People in Modhera become self-sufficient in terms of energy, and they also earn money by selling surplus electricity to the government.

Till now only three houses in Sanchi have rooftop solar systems installed. Electricity department officials say that solar system is expensive for people even after a 30 percent subsidy. People here are poor, they do not have enough income to spend Rs 70,000.

sanchi city bird eye view
solar lights in sanchi

Cost of a rooftop solar panel

  • A rooftop solar plant of at least 1 Kilo Watt capacity is required for a house. Its cost is up to 1 lakh rupees.
  • The government provides a 30 percent subsidy on this. After which it costs about 70,000 rupees.

People in Sanchi do not have enough income to deposit Rs 70,000 in one installment.

Pending works in Sanchi

According to the power officials, the land has been earmarked for the 8 MW plant, and the work of the plant will start there soon. It does not take much time to install solar panels, so it is expected that the city will be connected to the solar grid in time.

Through posters and campaigns (Sanchi Solar City), awareness is being created to install solar panels in the city, but people are not taking much interest. The main hurdle in this is the cost of solar panels.

Leaving aside the houses, even government buildings and hotels in the city have not yet been fitted with rooftop solar panels. The government is getting all this work done through a private agency.

Sanchi will become a solar city, but it will not be like Modhera in Gujarat where people also participated.

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